Understanding the Ketogenic Diet

February 10, 2021

Understanding the Ketogenic Diet

Written by: Keira Maria

In recent years, the ketogenic diet has exploded in popularity, especially for those who wish to lose weight for a healthier lifestyle. This is one of the oldest known diets introduced in the 1920's to treat children suffering from seizures. It has since transformed into a popular method for losing weight through low carbohydrate, high-fat content dieting. Although the keto diet has some similarities to other diets such as paleo and Atkins, it is the only diet purely focused on keeping your body in a state of Ketosis.

Keto Eggs

 

What is the keto diet?

There are several different ideas behind the keto diet but at its core it’s all about using fatty acids as a fuel source for your body, and ketones as a fuel source for your brain. The diet aims to send the body into a state called "ketosis" through the elimination of the majority of your carbohydrate intake. Under your normal diet, the body uses carbohydrates to create fuel for your body and your mind in the form of glucose, which can be stored in the muscles as glycogen.

In the absence carbohydrates, the body starts to use stored fat as it's fuel for your body's energy through fatty acids, which in turn burns the fat from your body. The brain can't use fat as a fuel source, and when you remove carbs from your diet you remove glucose which is your brains first fuel source. However, your body has a backup plan that kicks in when there's no glucose, it starts creating a new new fuel source for the brain called ketones.

 

What are ketones?

Ketones are an alternative fuel source to glucose. Ketones are formed by the liver when there is not enough sugar or glucose to supply the body's fuel needs. Ketones and fatty acids are used as an alternative fuel source for energy in certain parts of the brain. It is debatable which fuel source is better for your brain. Many Keto dieters swear they have higher cognitive function while others may experience foggy brain.

Ketones can be measured by your breath, urine, or blood very easily these days to tell if your body is in ketosis. The product I recommend is this blood monitoring system with a smart app.

Keto chicken

 

What foods can you eat under the Keto diet?

Generally, your keto diet should focus on the consumption of high-fat meats (chicken thighs instead of breast), fish, nuts, oils, high-fat dairy, vegetables, and leafy greens vegetables. We have a section in our store that is filled with keto compatible items you can purchase directly from amazon.

https://www.pantrydiet.com/collections/modified-ketogenic-diet

You should aim to eliminate bread, pasta, rice, and conventional baked goods in order to dramatically reduce your carbohydrate intake. To maintain this low carbohydrate intake, you should also eliminate most fruits, cut out starchy vegetables such as potatoes, and consume no sugar. 

 

What are the estimated macronutrients for the keto diet?

Typically you want to stay between 70% - 80% Fat | 10% - 20% Proteins | 5% - 10% Carbohydrates. Everyone's body is different, some people can reach ketosis by eating 50+ carbs a day, and some people have to stay below 25 carbs a day to reach and stay in ketosis. It's best to count your macros every meal, measure your levels and find what works for you.

Keto Meal Prep

 

What is the difference between the Keto diet and the Atkins diet?

Both the Keto and the Atkins diets involve dramatically reducing the quantities of high-carbohydrate foods in the diet, but they differ in their flexibility and their protein intake.

The Atkins diet varies from the keto diet in its structure - it takes the form of different phases, which can differ depending on which version of the Atkins diet you are undertaking. The most common version of the Atkins diet is Atkins 20, which involves four separate phases:

The Induction Phase - allows for around 25g of carbohydrates per day until you are 15 pounds (7kg) away from your target weight.

Phase 2 - consume 25-50g of carbohydrates until you are 10 pounds (5kg) away from your target weight

Phase 3 - allows for the consumption of 50-80g of carbohydrates per day until you have maintained your target weight for a one month period.

Weight Maintenance Phase - a consumption of 80-100g of carbohydrates per day is allowed in order to maintain your target weight.

The keto diet differs from this, as it does not allow for increases in carbohydrate intake. In order to successfully maintain the keto diet, your carbohydrate intake must remain at an absolute minimum - a maximum of 50g of carbohydrates per day, preferably less. This is to maintain the state of ketosis. Although the Atkins diet begins with encouraging a state of ketosis, it eventually increases your carbohydrate intake enough to exit this state.

The keto diet takes a moderate-protein approach, allowing up to approximately 20% of your calorie intake to come from proteins. On the other hand, the Atkins diet allows for up to 30% of your calorie intake to come from proteins, depending on which phase of the diet you are in. The Atkins diet also allows for a wider variety of foods such as fruits and some carbohydrate-containing vegetables, which the keto diet does not allow.

keto dip

 

Final Thoughts:

Overall, the keto diet is an incredibly popular choice for weight loss. It has medical advantages for epilepsy and can help other diseases such as fatty liver by burning the fat around your liver. However many health professionals do tend to shy away from recommending this diet as their are risk involved. Professionals tend to recommend more traditional diets such as the Mediterranean, Flexitarian, Plant based, or even the Keto 2.0 or Modified Keto diet. Sticking with this diet is also not easy, and you may experience the keto flu when your body starts to switch fuel sources.

However I have countless number of friends who have lost an incredible amount of weight in record time who are the happiest they have ever been.  If you are heavily overweight or have a very high fat percentage, you may want to consider this diet after consulting a medical professional.  

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